- - Wednesday, January 18, 2012

NETHERLANDS

Netanyahu lauds Dutch for standing against Iran

THE HAGUE — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid tribute Wednesday to the Dutch government, which he said supported Israel’s stance for tough sanctions on Iran.

Speaking at Amsterdam’s historic Portuguese Synagogue, Mr. Netanyahu, who is on a two-day working visit to the Netherlands, also compared Israel to his host country as “small, but great in spirit.”

“The one issue in which we stand together is in opposing Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” he said to loud applause by the audience, mainly members of the Netherlands‘ 45,000-strong Jewish community.

“I thank the Dutch government for their strong stance on sanctions against Iran,” Mr. Netanyahu said, adding that sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank and its oil exports “must be applied now.”

European governments are set to implement an Iranian oil embargo by the start of July, giving companies time to phase out existing contracts, EU diplomats said this week.

CHINA

Premier stresses need to keep oil strait open

DOHA, QatarChina’s premier, touring the oil-rich Persian Gulf on Wednesday stressed the importance of keeping the Strait of Hormuz open, in reaction to Iran’s threat to close the strategic waterway.

During a visit to the Qatari capital, Doha, Wen Jiabao said ensuring the security of the strait is in all nations’ interests. About a sixth of the world’s oil supply flows through the narrow strait.

“Any extremist action in this region will go against the will of all people in the world,” he said after meetings with Qatar’s ruling emir and other officials.

China is a major customer for Iran’s oil and gas. It has opposed tighter sanctions on Iran regarding Tehran’s disputed nuclear program and has called for a Middle East free of atomic weapons.

AFGHANISTAN

Militants kill 16 in two attacks

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